GW4 Researcher-Led Training 2016

The successful projects for 2016 are listed below. If you have any questions please get in contact with the project lead.


Focus Groups in Education: Opportunities and Challenges

Project lead: Gihan Ismail (

The use of ‘focus groups’ in education research is often underutilised as the methodology is often challenging and hazardous for novice and early-career researchers. With little in the way of recent publications in this field, it is particularly important for doctoral researchers to gain access to expertise and support as they develop skills in this area. This workshop explores the benefits and challenges of this qualitative technique as well as the practical demands. The aim is to encourage attendees to reflect on how the technique may benefit their research.

Please click here for more information and to register for ‘Focus Groups in Education’. 

This event took place on 10 May 2016 at the University of Bath. 


Multimodal Methodologies in Education Training Day and Network

Project lead: Alison Douthwaite (

This one-day workshop, led by experts in the field, aims to introduce doctoral students to issues and approaches in multimodal data collection and analysis in education. With a strong focus on visual methods and data, sessions will explore multimodal data collection methods, approaches for transcribing and analysing multimodal data, and conceptual frameworks for measuring teaching, thinking and learning which can account for both traditional classroom interaction and interaction mediated by technology. The workshop aims to provide participants with: an overview of key methods; some space to discuss the relevance and application of these to their individual research projects; an opportunity to participate in developing an online network for further collaboration.

Please click here for more information and to register for ‘Multimodal Methodologies in Education’. 

This event took place on 10 November 2016 at the University of Bath.

Alison said: “This funding enabled me to organise some high-quality, specific training and to tailor the format of it to the participants. It has put me in touch with other researchers with related interests and created a basis for future collaboration, as well as providing all of us with new tools and approaches to dealing with multimodal data.”


Surviving your Data: the Impact of Ageing, Death and Dying Studies on the Researcher

Project lead: Renske Visser (

This is a one day workshop aiming to bring together doctoral students in the field of death, dying and ageing. Skills courses available often tend to focus on not harming the participants, yet the focus of the day will be on the emotional impact of doing research in these areas on the researcher. In this workshop day, practitioners, early career and senior academics will be invited to share their experiences and best practice with current doctoral students. Participants will be asked in advance to submit their ‘top 3’ issues and the broad issues which are identified will be addressed during the day.

Please click here for more information and to register for ‘Surviving your Data’. 

This event took place on 20 June 2016 at the University of Bath.

Renske said: “The funding from the GW4 enabled us to gain experience in creating and organising an event that was relevant to our specific training needs. It was a great opportunity to be able to engage with PhD Students from other GW4 students working within the same area.”


Methods in Neuroscience

Project lead: Catherine Beedie (

Neuroscientists face the challenge of understanding and integrating data across a spectrum of areas. Methods in neuroscience range from optogenetics to computational modelling, transgenics to in vivo electrophysiology.

This workshop will bringing together experts from across the GW4 universities to share their experience of choosing and implementing the best methods for their research interests. During the day of talks, Q&A sessions and focus groups, postgraduate researchers will have the opportunity to place their specialist topic within the broader scope of neuroscience. Students will be given help to identify the strengths and limitations of their research, and to develop methods to increase the impact of their work.

Please click here for more information and to register for ‘Methods in Neuroscience’ 

This event took place on 18 July 2016 at the University of Bristol.


Producing High Quality Figures in the Biological Sciences for Publication and your Thesis

Project lead: Adam Jellett (

The ability to produce high-quality figures for theses and publications is a critical part of being a biomedical scientist. Furthermore, with the advent of post-publication peer review/comments (on sites such as PubMed and PubPeer), now more than ever, scientists need to adhere to strict guidelines for image integrity and standards. However, it is sometimes difficult to know what is and isn’t allowed in terms of post-acquisition image editing and manipulation. This one day course will provide an introduction to the preparation of high quality figures whilst giving participants the confidence in the integrity of what they produce.

Please click here for more information and to register for ‘Producing High Quality Figures’.

This event took place on 25 July 2016 at the University of Bristol.

Adam said: “Having identified an area where PhD students lacked training, it was highly rewarding to create a new workshop to fill the gap. The feedback from the workshop was very positive and I’m happy that the participants found it useful.”


Causal inference using causal diagrams: an introduction and recent advances

Project lead: Cheryl McGuire (

Causal inference is a fundamental aim of scientific investigation. Yet it is a topic that has puzzled philosophers and researchers for centuries. This free training event will benefit students across the GW4 who are investigating cause-effect relationships – likely to be a significant proportion of students in epidemiology, medicine, psychology and related disciplines. Causal diagrams offer a practical solution to common problems in causal inference including variable selection for statistical modelling and bias reduction. Expert speaker, Dr Rhian Daniel (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), will lead this cutting-edge event with a mixture of lectures and practical sessions.

Please click here for more information and to register for ‘Causal Diagrams’. 

This event took place on 17 June 2016 at Cardiff University.

Cheryl said: “The GW4 Researcher-Led Discipline-Specific Training Fund provided an excellent opportunity to access high-quality training and to share this with postgraduate researcher students from across the GW4. The students benefited from learning valuable skills that were applicable to their diverse projects and the occasion encouraged collaboration. As well as the expert-led training material, I gained valuable experience in applying for, and securing funding, and learning what it takes to organise a collaborative training day.”


Incisive Individual Interviews: Techniques and Skills of Interviewing for Quality Qualitative Research

Project lead: Matthew Parry ( RLT Incisive individual interviews

Interview techniques are an essential part of qualitative research, yet the quality of the results will vary depending on the skill of the questioner. This training will consider ways of improving interviewing techniques for research students, using Socratic discussion, gold-fish bowl examples, and group exercises to refine skills that are essential for any questioner. Led by a skills trainer with over thirty years’ experience, the morning and afternoon sessions will discuss how to understand the best ways of interacting with your interviewee, to help them to help you get the best possible research material.

Please click here for more information and to register for ‘Incisive Individual Interviews’. 

This event took place on 18 May 2016 at Cardiff University.

Matthew said: “I am grateful for GW4 funding this training day which allowed me to develop a skill that is both crucial to research skills and also of great interest to me academically and personally. The day was well received and inspired me to continue to develop the opportunity.”